Think creamy Parmesan, fresh & tart lemon zest, and a whole bunch of butter. Plus, this recipe can be varied in so many ways, making it a perfect side dish.
This recipe is a unique take on a classic risotto dish. Except instead of Arborio rice, orzo pasta is used. After toasting the orzo, it gets slowly cooked down in wine and broth, and then blanketed in butter, cheese and lemon zest to send you to heaven in the first bite.
When I made this recipe last go around, I also included spinach in the recipe and had it alongside a lemon and garlic roasted salmon. But you could add mushrooms, bacon, shrimp, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, the list goes on. If you don’t have orzo, or want to work with the Arborio rice you already have on hand, you can certainly sub that out and make this into a risotto of your choice as well.
The biggest key to this dish is constantly stirring the Orzotto while it’s cooking, and to warm your broth on the stove before you start slowly adding it into the mix….ensuring everything cooks smoothly and evenly throughout!
And whatever mix ins you decide to use, make them first, and add in to the dish after the orzo has cooked through. If you’re adding bacon, you BETTER cook it first, and then continue to make the dish in that bacon grease. I’m watching you!
Lemony Orzotto (with variations!)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large shallots minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2-3 cups vegetable broth (chicken works too)
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and cook shallots and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the orzo to the pan, stir and cook for another minute or two.
- Add the white wine to the pan, increase the heat a little, and simmer, stirring for about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth in a small pot on the stove over medium-low heat. (You don’t want it to be simmering but almost)
- Add a few ladel-fulls of the broth to the orzo while continuing to stir. Repeat the process every minute or so as the orzo absorbs the liquid and cooks. Continue process, stirring very frequently, until the orzo is cooked through and the texture of the pasta is creamy.
- Turn heat down to low, add lemon zest, juice and butter. Stir until butter is melted.
- Turn off heat, stir in Parmesan and any other mix-ins. Garnish and serve immediately!
Other Orzotto Variations to try….
spinach & mushroom
sun-dried tomato & chorizo
spinach & artichoke
shrimp & fresh herbs
asparagus & bacon